Our previous work showed that speed is linked to the ability to recover in chronic stroke survivors. Patients moving faster on the first day of a three-week study had greater improvements on the Wolf Motor Function Test.
We examined the effects of three candidate speed-modifying fields in a crossover design: negative viscosity, positive viscosity, and a "breakthrough" force that vanishes after speed exceeds an individualized threshold.
Negative viscosity resulted in a significant speed increase when it was on. No lasting after effects on movement speed were observed from any of these treatments, however, training with negative viscosity led to significant improvements in movement accuracy and smoothness.
Our results suggest that negative viscosity could be used as a treatment to augment the training process while still allowing patients to make their own volitional motions in practice.
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Boards at Northwestern University (STU00206579) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (2018-1251).
stroke, reaching, speed, viscosity, crossover